Loan amounts and interest rates
PenFed Credit Union’s loan amounts range from $600 to $50,000. The minimum and maximum amounts are similar what other
offer. For example, Navy Federal’s loan amount range is $250 to $50,000, and the range for Connexus’ personal loans is $2,500 to $25,000. Online lenders usually have higher loan minimums.
PenFed offers term repayment lengths from one year to five years. If you want to pay off your loan early, there are no prepayment penalties.
Interest rates at PenFed vary from 5.99% to 17.99% APR. That’s a lower starting point than Navy Federal’s APR range of 7.49% to 18.00% and comparable to Alliant’s lowest rate, which starts at 6.24% APR.
Pros and cons
How PenFed Credit Union works
You don’t need to be a member of the credit union to apply for a personal loan, but you’ll have to be a member to get your loan. If you’ve served in the military or work at qualifying associations or organizations, you’ll qualify. If that doesn’t apply, you can easily join by opening a savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.
You can get a personal loan from PenFed in all 50 states. You are able to apply with a co-borrower, which might help you get a lower rate if your co-borrower has a good credit score. You can complete the application online and get your rate within several minutes.
You may get your money as early as the next day, though it could take up to seven business days if you’re getting the money by check.
To contact customer support, you can send a message via PenFed’s online portal, use its chatbot, send physical mail, or call in Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm ET, Saturday from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm ET, or Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm ET.
If you’re away from your computer and need to manage your loan, PenFed has a mobile app in the Google Play and Apple stores, and the app has strong reviews.
What credit score do you need?
PenFed Credit Union doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score to qualify for a personal loan — though the better your credit history, the more likely you’ll be eligible for a loan with a great rate.
To get your credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus, use annualcreditreport.com. You can get your report for free once per week through April 20, 2022. While you won’t receive your credit score on this report, you’ll get information about your credit and payment history. While reviewing your credit report, you can spot errors and figure out where you can improve.
You can obtain your score at no cost from your credit card statement or online account. You may also purchase it from a credit reporting agency.
You can check your rates without impacting your credit score. However, the lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry once you accept the loan offer. A hard inquiry gives a lender a complete view of your credit history, but might negatively affect your credit score.
After you take out the loan, your payments (or lack thereof) will appear on your credit report. Consistent payments can help improve your credit score, while late or missing payments may damage your score.
Is PenFed Credit Union trustworthy?
PenFed Credit Union has an A+ trustworthiness rating from the Better Business Bureau. The BBB determines its trustworthiness score by evaluating a company’s response to customer complaints, truthfulness in advertising, and transparent about business practices.
PenFed doesn’t have any recent public controversies.
Between its top-notch BBB score and clean history, you might decide you’re comfortable taking out a personal loan with PenFed.
How PenFed Credit Union compares
Connexus Credit Union has both the highest minimum loan amount and the lowest maximum loan amount of the three credit unions — its range is between $2,500 and $25,000. You can get a loan of as little as $250 with Navy Federal Credit Union or $600 with PenFed Credit Union. Both credit unions allow you to take out up to $50,000.
It’s harder to qualify for a membership with Navy Federal than PenFed or Connexus, as you’re only eligible if you are active military member or a veteran, as well as an employee or retiree of the Department of Defense. Family members of any of the aforementioned groups are also eligible.
You can join PenFed if you’ve served in the military or worked at qualifying associations or organizations. You can also join by opening a savings account with a $5 minimum deposit. You’re eligible to be a member of Connexus if you’re affiliated with certain designated groups or live in specific parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio. Otherwise, you can join the Connexus Association with a one-time $5 donation.
You’ll get basically the same maximum interest rate with all three credit unions, and none of them charge prepayment penalties.
Frequently asked questions
Is PenFed legitimate?
Yes, PenFed Credit Union is a legitimate credit union federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. It has a high rating in trustworthiness from the Better Business Bureau and offers a variety of financial products outside of loans.
Is it hard to get a personal loan from a credit union?
Provided your credit is in good shape, it isn’t hard to get a personal loan from a credit union. While you may have to join the credit union to take out a loan from it — like in the case of PenFed Credit Union — many credit unions have simple requirements to qualify.
Is a credit union a good place to get a personal loan?
Credit unions are a solid choice to get a personal loan — they often have high-quality customer service and smaller loan minimums than online lenders if you just need a little money to tide you over. Credit unions also have their maximum interest rate capped by the National Credit Union Administration at 18%, so you may get a better rate with one than with an online lender.
How much can you borrow from a credit union?
Your maximum borrowing amount depends on the credit union you chose to borrow from and your particular financial situation. Generally, you’ll be eligible for more money with a higher income and credit score. On our list of the best credit unions for personal loans, the maximum amounts range from $25,000 to $50,000.
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